RAINBOW FAMILIES NEWS
by Maya Gold with Petwork News
“Rainbow Families represents celebration.”
That’s according to Darren Paul-Vance, executive director of the 30-year-old nonprofit Rainbow Families. Based in DC, Rainbow Families provides educational programs, professionally facilitated support groups, connections and empowerment for LGBTQ+ families and prospective parents. When the pandemic hit, the organization instantly pivoted to online events, working to keep the LGBTQ+ community connected and joyful during these isolating times. “It’s really important for our children to be around other families like theirs,” Paul-Vance says. “We have done the best we can do to provide those programs virtually.”
“We are very proud in that Rainbow Families and our family members — we really represent celebrations and a bit of a ray of sunshine, really, a ray of joy,” Paul-Vance explains. “If you’ll go to our social media, you’re not going to see a litany of depressing posts. Instead, we’re sharing photos of our beautiful families, and birthdays, and adoption stories. That has really resonated.”
As the holiday season approaches, Rainbow Families decided to stay true to its mission and celebrate its community as well. The non-profit traditionally has one big fundraising push in December. This year, they wanted to do a program that would lift up local small businesses.
The Holiday Bazaar was born.
The Rainbow Families’ website is now the Holiday Bazaar marketplace, which features 21 local businesses — and has room for more, if other independent DC artisans are interested in joining.
The Bazaar is entirely online. When customers buy from the participating organizations by following links from the Bazaar, a percentage of the profits are donated to Rainbow Families. The event starts on Thanksgiving and runs through New Year’s Day.
“I’ve always wanted to support them,” says Debbie Jansen, owner of Storied Creatives and a Petworth resident. “I think it’s really important that they’re able to support LGBTQ+ families in the DC area.”
Jansen makes diorama ornaments — modern versions of the ornaments that her grandmother and mother had. Holiday markets are a crucial place to sell her art. “This is such a weird year that it’s been really great that there’s another outlet,” she said. “It’s been a really hard year for so many people, it’s a great way for those of us who live in DC to support one another.”
Joining the Holiday Bazaar as a vendor was a “No-brainer for us,” says Chris Brady, co-owner of Petworth’s award-winning Timber Pizza. “Timber Pizza is proud to support the LGBTQ community in DC and happy to be an ally in these uncertain times. We’re an open-minded and open-arms company and just happy to do our small part and be able to help.”
To support Rainbow Families and shop local, check out the Holiday Bazaar.
The Bazaar runs through New Year’s Day. For more information about the event, contact Rainbow Families' Executive Director Darren Paul-Vance.
Rainbow Families is delighted to announce our Annual Holiday Bazaar! This will be a fun aspect of our yearly Winter Fundraising Program, this one is about supporting small business in our community.
When you visit the virtual bazaar (launching Thanksgiving Day), you help build community and celebrate local businesses, many of whom have struggled tremendously with the pandemic. You'll find inspired, unique, creative holiday gift ideas (and treats for yourself), where you can feel GOOD about your purchases - shopping small and shopping local.
And when you buy through this Bazaar, the business will make a donation to Rainbow Families!
We are happy to say that the implementation of online programs and events has gone wonderfully. Thank you to all our volunteers and participants. Programs like our Support Groups, Maybe Baby, Story-Times have been wonderful, and we're offering most of them at no-charge during this time. Please stay safe and know that Rainbow Families is here to support LGBTQ+ families, and always will be.
Rainbow Families Announces
2020 Hero Award and Volunteer of the Year Recipients
WASHINGTON, DC February 7, 2020 – Rainbow Families (www.RainbowFamilies.org) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 HERO AWARD, and VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR, to be presented at the Annual Family Conference May 16 2020 in Washington DC.
Ellen Kahn was selected by the Rainbow Families Board of Directors to receive the honor this year. “We started the Hero award in 2019 to recognize and honor someone who has contributed significantly to the LGBTQ+ family community, particularly in the areas of advocacy, support, family, education or acceptance,” said Darren Vance, Executive Director of Rainbow Families. “For decades, Ellen has contributed her time, talent, and resources for us – plus, she was a founding member of Rainbow Families over 20 years ago. She’s a true hero for our community.”
Christine Lane, Rainbow Families Board President, said, “We are honored to recognize Ellen in this way. She is an icon in the Mid-Atlantic region for her enduring work and we couldn’t be more excited.”
The 2019 Hero Award recipient was Michele Zavos, who has spent 40 years fighting for the legal rights of LGBTQ+ families and individuals in the Washington DC region, and continues to do so,
The Volunteer of the Year Award will be presented to spouses Sequoia and Shay Taylor-El, who donated weeks of sign language service for educational programs, providing tremendous value not only to Rainbow Families, but for the group’s deaf members as well. “Rainbow Families is a lean, volunteer-driven organization. Without the selfless contributions of people like Shay and Sequoia and others, we couldn’t do what we do. We appreciate them, and all our wonderful volunteers”, Vance said.
About Rainbow Families:
Rainbow Families is a nonprofit organization which began in the 1990s as an AOL listserv for gay parents seeking support and community connection. Today, Rainbow Families provides an array of educational programs such as Maybe Baby, numerous support groups, social activities for children to be around other families like theirs, a family camping weekend, and much more. Rainbow Families hosts an Annual Family Conference & Gathering each May in Washington DC, and in was named “One of the Best” nonprofits by the Catalogue for Philanthropy. Visit www.rainbowfamilies.org to discover more and follow on Facebook @OurRainbowFamilies.
The Rainbow Families Board of Directors and Executive Director are delighted to announce the details of our 2020 Family Conference!
The largest of its kind in the region, our conference provides a full day of valuable workshops, information sessions, guest speakers, and the opportunity to connect as a community. The conference is for LGBTQ+ parents, prospective parents, LGBTQ+ families, and our beautiful allies too.
We also have the popular Resource Fair, with providers who serve our community, super-fun KIDS CAMPS, breakfast and lunch, and more.
Rainbow Families is delighted to announce that our Resource Directory has been launched. We hope this will serve as a tremendous value and benefit to our members, as they search for LGBTQ+ competent service providers, especially in health care/medical fields.
This listing is available only to dues-paying members. To view, simply log on to your account, it will then appear at the top pull-down menus.
More info can be found under : Member Benefits
On Wednesday September 11, 2019 employees of Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association selected Rainbow Families as their partners for their 9/11 Community Day of Service.
We gathered to clean Oxon Run Park in Southeast Washington DC with great impact!
We were further honored to receive a major grant from BCBSA, which will help us continue the good work we do for LGBTQ+ families.
THANK YOU, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association!
We are pleased to announce, Rainbow Families has been approved and will be included on the upcoming CFC Campaign! Federal employees will have an opportunity to help support the good work we do through this program.
Our Campaign # 72636
What is the CFC? The Combined Federal Campaign is the workplace giving program of the federal government of the United States. The mission of the CFC "is to promote and support philanthropy through a program that is employee focused, cost-efficient, and effective in providing all federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all".
Rainbow Families is proud to share the news that Michele Zavos was awarded the prestigious Justice William J Brennan Jr Award on June 11 by the DC Bar. The honor is presented biannually to a DC Bar Member in recognition of "outstanding work toward furthering the public interest and equal justice."
Michele has dedicated her work to securing the civil rights of LGBTQ folks, and we couldn’t be more pleased that she received this well-deserved recognition. She is one of the founding members of Rainbow Families/Maybe Baby and donates significant time to volunteer at Rainbow Families programs.
In May of this year Michele was also awarded our first annual Rainbow Families HERO AWARD, honoring those in our community who go above and beyond to support and advocate for us.
Rainbow Families is excited to announce the continuation of our very popular monthly Surrogacy/ART Support Group, which after taking a summer break will resume in September of 2019.
We are also delighted to announce two NEW support groups which will add tremendous value to our community as well:
Pregnancy & New Parent Support Group
Adoption Support Group (details will be posted in July)